A colonoscopy is perhaps the most commonly performed GI (gastrointestinal) procedure, as it is used to detect colon cancer and other diseases. Performed by a gastroenterologist, a colonoscopy is minimally invasive and allows your Arlington doctor to ensure there are no polyps, ulcers, tumors, or other abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) or rectum.
During the actual procedure, a long flexible tube (colonscope) is inserted into the rectum with a light on the end and slowly advanced so that the entire colon is visualized.
Your gastroenterologist may then remove precancerous polyps, reducing the risk of colon cancer by 90%. Additionally, he or she may also remove abnormal tissues, allowing them to be tested and checked for cancer or precancerous growths in the colon or rectum.
Before the Procedure
While many people avoid preventive screenings due to perceived discomfort and embarrassment, having a colonoscopy performed by your Arlington, Texas doctor is one of the smartest decisions you can make for your overall health. It is essential for the colon to be very clean during the procedure, as it will allow your gastroenterologist to see all potential polyps and abnormalities. Before the actual test, you will need to perform a handful of ‘colon prep’ steps. This may take one to two days, depending on what your gastroenterologist suggests.
It is important that you eat no solid food and drink only clear liquids for all meals and snacks, as this will help clear out the colon. Clear liquids may include:
- Strained fruit juices without pulp – apple, white grape, orange, lemonade
- Water, tea, coffee (no milk or non-dairy creamer)
- Soft drinks – orange, ginger ale, cola, Sprite, Gatorade, 7-Up
- Soups – chicken or beef bouillon/broth
The colon prep may leave you hungry and slightly uncomfortable, but it is extremely important for you to follow the above instructions and any others given by your doctor.
What You Need to Know
You will need someone to drive you after the procedure because of the sedation. While many people associate a colonoscopy with pain, the majority of people have very little difficulty with the procedure. The discomfort you may experience comes from air introduced into the colon and from stretching the colon with the scope. However, the pain you will feel is similar to cramping.
It is important to remember that this procedure is performed in order to prevent cancer and catch precancerous cells before they develop. If you have any further questions,
please feel free to contact your Arlington gastroenterologist today.